lucky no 13: Mariners’ streak reaches Baker’s docent with extra-inning win over Rangers

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 lucky no  13: Mariners' streak reaches Baker's docent with extra-inning win over Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — For two days, JP Crawford sat and fumed, staring at his swollen index finger and cursing the baseball gods for letting such trouble keep them from playing.

Like a kid who wasn’t chosen for a team in a sandlot game, there are few things in life that upset him more than watching his teammates play baseball without him.

There would not be a third day watching from the dugout. His finger would feel good enough to play even if it didn’t.

On Saturday, the team’s emotional leader returned to the lineup on and off the field, helping the Mariners continue a winning streak that is nearing historic levels for the franchise.

Crawford hit left Brett Martin and hit a groundball single in the top part of the 10th inning, narrowly past Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe to score pinch runner Sam Haggerty from third base for the go-ahead run.

“I played no matter what,” he said.

With Andres Munoz, Erik Swanson, Paul Sewald and Diego Castillo already in the game, Mariners manager Scott Servais turned to right-hander Matt Festa to stop the game.

As in the winning streak that has now reached 13 straight games, Festa excelled in the moment of need. With the automatic runner in second at the bottom of 10th, Festa beat out Jonah Heim, Kole Calhoun and Elier Hernandez to secure the Mariners’ 3-2 win and salvage his first career.

“Everyone does their job,” Crawford said. “Nothing else matters to us, nothing else. It just wins. That’s everyone’s mindset right now. Nobody cares if they go 0v4 or 0v5, if we win everyone is happy.”

Servais couldn’t help but giggle before discussing the recent win.

“Our team just knows what to do at the right time,” said Servais. “And it’s weird because it’s something we weren’t very good at in May. It has turned in our favor.”

The Mariners went to the top of 10th place and were 1 for 12 with runners in goal position after stranding 11 runners on base.

With Carlos Santana scheduled as an automatic second-place runner after being eliminated last time, Servais used Haggerty as a run-flat.

Before heading to second base, Haggerty approached Servais in the dugout. After seeing Martin work with Dylan Moore at second base, Haggerty was confident he could steal third base after picking up something in Martin’s delivery.

“He was paying attention the innings before that and although Martin is getting on the plate very quickly, he caught something that could allow him to get a good jump with the right timing,” said Servais. “Even though he’s not in the game at this point, he’s watching the inning before he knows he could end up in the game. Sure enough, there he is.”

Servais trusted Haggerty’s trust.

“I said, ‘Hags, if you feel it, take it. Don’t play scared. You have to play to win,’” Servais recalled. “We do that. He’s done a great job. No fear. It really needs that. If you play fearfully in this league, it will not end well.”

From a nearly running start as an inattentive Martin delivered his fourth pitch of the inning, Haggerty was easily third. Catcher Jonah Heim didn’t even have a throw. While that 90 feet doesn’t seem to mean much, it forced the Rangers to shift their infield depth to play at the plate, putting another layer of pressure on a team that now has a record of 5-20 in one-run – Play has.

“It changed the whole infield, opened up more holes and we have another opportunity and don’t have to waste an out to pass him,” Crawford said. “It was a great game”

It was one reason Crawford’s groundball was able to get past Lowe.

The Mariners would have stood no chance in 10th and the winning streak would have ended at the bottom of 9th place. With a tie of 2, Castillo went to Adolis Garcia to start the inning. But Seattle got a break when Garcia tried to steal second and Nathaniel Lowe hit a broken bat liner that Dylan Moore, who had replaced Ty France at first base, snatched out of the air with a slight leap.

Moore stepped on first base for the double play. If that ball is just out of his reach, Garcia is likely to hit the play to win the game. Instead, Castillo knocked out Taveras to end the inning.

Seattle got an abbreviated start from Logan Gilbert, which was intended. Sensing a bit of fatigue from the big right-hander in recent games, the Mariners took note of a heavy workload 106 innings coming into the game and decided to recall his last start before the All-Star break.

“We’ll probably keep a closer eye on him today,” Servais said before the game. “He’s already carried a lot of innings. He was really consistent and really good. But you know it’s so close to the break… don’t be surprised if he’s out a little earlier than normal today. I won’t run it on 110 pitches. I’ll tell you right away.”

Servais allowed Gilbert to pitch 85 pitches in five innings before removing him from the game.

In those five innings, Gilbert allowed a run to four hits with a walk and four strikeouts.

His only run allowed came in the second inning. He allowed Lowe a leadoff double, who later circled to score on Jonah Heim’s single to center.

The Mariners responded with two runs ahead of Rangers starter Spencer Howard at the top of the third inning. Ty France doubled with an out – his second of three in the game. With two outs, Carlos Santana, who returned to the Mariners after traveling after a fire to see what was left of his Florida home, smashed a fastball deep into the right center seats for his eighth homer of the season .

The 2-1 lead lasted through the seventh inning.

Right-hander Swanson gave a lead-off double to Leody Taveras, who eventually turned over to hit Elier Hernandez’s single to center and the game was even at 2.

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